The Death of A Brother and Son
September 13, 2013,
"Call 911! Call 911!", desperately said Damar Alan Rigsby to a friend as he stumbled last Friday evening into Al's Liquor Store at Figueroa and 108th and collapsed. Shot once in the neck, those were the 24-year-old's last known words
Three time zones away, Margaret Rigsby, Damar's mother, was surprised to hear her phone ring after midnight. This is her recollection of the heartbreaking phone call.
"Who is this?,' Margaret asked.
""I'm a social worker calling from Harbor UCLA. Are you Margaret Rigsby, mother of Damar Rigsby?"
"Yes. Why are you calling me?"
"Something happened here."
"What do you mean? Tell me. Did something happen to my son?"
"I will transfer you to a doctor."
"Wait! What happened? Did something to my son?""
Margaret Rigsby, 2,000 miles away in Indianapolis, was put on hold as hysteria began to take its own hold. An uncertain amount of time passed. A man identifying himself as a doctor came on the line and told Margaret her son had been shot. And then this even more devastating news.
"Even if we could have saved him, the bullet was too close to his spine."
Wednesday night, at the Bethel A.M. E. Church on 79th and Western, Margaret pounded her chest and repeated that line "Even if we could have saved him. Even if we could have saved him."
Margaret and her daughter, Jamila, had flown to Los Angeles from Indiana shortly after the worst news and were at the church to be part of a weekly "Cease Fire" stop the violence meeting and to raise awareness for their beloved DeMar.
LAPD homicide Det. Rick Gordon said today that they believe the shooting was gang-related and Rigsby was wrongly profiled as being from that Vermont Vista neighborhood which is a stronghold of the Denver Lane Bloods.
"He was just walking down the street trying to get home and our belief was he was profiled by rival gang members," said Gordon. "With his background, being from out of town, he may have not been familiar with the area."
Rigsby was shot once in the neck on the east side of Figueroa and ran bleeding across the street into Al's.
Gordon said one of the best detectives on the South Bureau homicide squad, Nate Kouri, is leading the investigation. Anyone with information can call LAPD's Criminal Gang Homicide unit at (213) 485 1383 or if one feels uncomfortable with calling the police, then they can E-mail me, MIchael Krikorian, at email@example.com.
Demar's sister Jamila Rigsby, eyes red from crying for days, said her 6-foot-4, basketball-loving brother had moved from Fort Wayne, Indiana to seek work as an electrician so he could send for his 18-month old daughter. She said he had left Indiana also because he had broken up with the baby's mother and was heartbroken.
"He was the nicest person in the world. He made people feel good," said Jamila in a kind of daze. She was finding this tragedy hard to believe. "I never even thought I would lose my brother to a shooting. Why? Why ? Why did they kill my brother?"
Jamila and her family are having a vigil tonight in front of Al's Liquor Store at 7 p.m..
Since the shooting, Jamila has frequently been in this often-violent neighborhood trying to find out who killed DaMar.
"People ask me 'Why are you waking the streets around here? It's dangerous.'. What can they do to me? Shoot me? You already took my life. I'm an only child now. I'm an only daughter. Why did the kill my brother? I still can't believe they killed my brother."
The family of DaMar Rigsby needs financial help to transport his body back to Indiana and pay for his funeral. They are asking for donations. If you can help at all. please send to P.O.Box 53165 Indianapolis IN 46253 to Margaret Rigsby Jamila Rigsby or written out to Covington Memorial Gardens!